Monday, April 20, 2020

Here's What I'm Reading During Covid 19


Now that we have finished reading and discussing “God Loves Justice” I thought I would share the books I have been reading during the pandemic. God Loves Justice is an important book and if you haven’t had the chance to read it I hope you will once you can get a copy. This year I set a goal of reading 30 books.  For me that is a goal that is doable but takes some effort to accomplish. So far, I have read 11 books and with the baseball season delayed, I have a good shot at making my goal. Here is a look at what I have been reading during the pandemic.

I checked out two books from the Herndon Library right before the pandemic closed everything down. I keep a list of books people suggest. Both books came off that list.  Lucky for me the library suspended returns. It took me a while to get through them.  It’s not that the books were bad but my schedule was turned upside down with meetings the first few weeks of Covid19.

One of the books from the library was “The Newcomers” by Helen Thorpe. This book was recommended to me by Exodus World Service, the refugee resettlement organization the youth and I worked with in Chicago last summer. In “The Newcomers”, Thorpe tells of her experience spending a year and a half in a high school English as a Second Language Class.  The class was made up of teenage refugees who had recently resettled in the United States. She shares powerful stories of the struggles and challenges refugee’s face once they resettle in their new country. I strongly believe these are stories that need to be heard!

I also checked out “The Blue Sweater” by Jaqueline Novograte. Novograte lives in Northern Virginia and is the founder and CEO of Acumen. In High School she donated a blue sweater to a local clothing ministry and years later saw the sweater on a young child in Africa. She uses this story to share her experiences of trying to help empower the poor around the world.  Her experience with working with the poor offers a lot to teach us about how to properly end poverty. She makes a very compelling case that we should all pay attention to. 

After finishing my library books, I started looking around my office and home for books I never finished.  Right on my office desk was Adam Hamilton’s latest book, “The Walk” so I started with it. In “The Walk”, Hamilton shares five spiritual practices Christians should follow and easy steps to make them a part of your everyday life. As a church we read Hamilton’s “The Way” a few years back. I might rate “The Way” as a better book but I think “The Walk” is a practical and helpful read I would recommend to everyone. 

Currently, I am reading “The Divine Dance”, by Ricard Rohr and “Reading Romans Backwards” by Scot McKnight. Both are preacher type books but if you are up for a challenge you might enjoy them.  My stack of unfinished books is embarrassingly high so I have a lot to read during the pandemic.  This should help me reach my goal.

Now, please share! What are you reading?


Monday, April 6, 2020

God Loves Justice Week 6 Final Chapter

This is Holy Week and our goal was to read "God Loves Justice" during Lent.  If you have finished great job! If you are not quite done let me encourage you to continue reading because I believe this book has a lot to teach us.  I hope you and I will continue to grow in learning to love what God loves and God loves justice! The last video of our class is below.  Thank you for being apart of our study!







Points to ponder


Make a list of 3 to 5 things you have learned from reading God Loves Justice.


Where do you feel God leading you in living out Justice and righteousness?


How can our church help you live into a life of loving Justice and righteousness? 

Monday, March 30, 2020

God Loves Justice Week 5


Today we dicuss chapters 13, 14 and 15 of God Loves Justice.  Thank you for sticking to the work and I look forward to your comments.  Here's the video.



Points to Ponder

1. I like Nicholas' explanation of Meekness, “being Meek doesn't mean that you become weak or a doormat..It means strength under control.  It describes those who don’t trust their own power. “

Who is an example of true meekness in your life?
What other explanations of the beatitudes stand out to you?

  

2. Nicholas says;
“I think many of us Christians have been trained to be passive toward injustice, because we have been trained to respond to suffering with intellectual reasoning. And when we find that reason, that is enough for us to explain away our own role in bringing change.”

What are some examples of how we respond to suffering with intellectual reasoning and fail to help?  What are some steps to change our response and move to help those in need? 


3. What areas of your everyday life need your attention in living a just and righteous way?

Monday, March 23, 2020

God Love Justice Week 4

Here we are again! Thank you for reading and staying with the work of justice.

Please view the video below for our discussion and join the discussion in the comment section below.





Questions to ponder


  1. What are stories in the gospels that display the Kingdom of God as works of righteousness and justice?
  2. How is God inviting you into the story of God’s kingdom to live out justice and righteousness to bring Shalom ?
  3. Where do you think God is “launching” our church in the work of Justice and Righteousness?

Next week we will discuss Chapters 13-15  It’s a little longer read.


Monday, March 16, 2020

God Loves Justice Week 3

Hello Friends,

Let's keep on reading! Below are my reflections on Chapters 7-9.  Please watch the video and comment with your questions, answers or thoughts!



Questions to Ponder:


What are some actions and changes we need to make to move from understanding
the poor as people to simply “take care of”  and view them as people who need to
be seen, heard, respected, and treated as equal?

When you look at the description of Job’s life, what are some of the qualities that
you want said about how you live your own life? How can you start building those
habits?

What about our worship practices are pleasing to God because they reflect justice?
What about our worship practices might irritate God because they deflect from
justice? 

Share a part of the reading that taught you something about justice.

Next week we discuss chapters 10-12.

Monday, March 9, 2020

God Loves Justice Week 2


Thank you for coming back to week two of our discussion of God Loves Justice! I'm glad you are reading with me and that we are discovering more and more about what God loves. Watch the video below and please comment if you can!






Reflections and comments: 


Think about and share an example, story or someone you know that displays our new understanding of Justice, Righteousness and Mercy.


What stands out for you in Chapters 3-6?


Do you have any questions about what we have read?

Next week we read Chapters 7-9

Monday, March 2, 2020

God Loves Justice Week 1

Hello Friends,

Thank you for joining me on this journey of discovering biblical justice. You can see my reflections on the first couple of chapters of God Loves Justice in the video below.  

If you haven't done so already please add you email to the blog! You can add your email in the box to the right that says, email address.  I have been using our Constant Contact email lists to send reminders about the blog but I may not do so every week.  

Please comment so I'll  know you were here!  I hope you have enjoyed the reading so far!  






Questions to ponder
1. What are stories from your own life that have urged you, pulled you, shaped you or called you to help those in need?  (you don’t have to call it social justice if you don’t want to:)  

2. I want you to think about the invitation Nicholas gives us in Chapter 1. 

“My goal is to extend the same invitation to you in the pages ahead. Whatever your current political opinions are, keep them. All I want to do is to challenge you to go deep into what God says He loves and allow God’s love for these things to transform your heart so you too can love what He loves.”

  1. What, if anything, makes you hesitant to study social justice?
  2. What, if anything, excites you about this study?
  3. Have you been surprised by anything you have learned so far?


3. Preaching, teaching and pastoral care are part of the everyday work of a congregation.  If God loves justice should the work of justice also be a part of the everyday work of a congregation?   What might that look like? What changes need to take place for justice to be an everyday part of our work? 



Feel free to simply ponder these questions or share your response to one or more of them in the comments section below.  You can also comment about something you discovered in the reading.  


Next week.


Next week we will discuss chapters 3-6.  That seems like a lot but it's just a little longer than this weeks.  Happy reading!!

Here's What I'm Reading During Covid 19

Now that we have finished reading and discussing “God Loves Justice” I thought I would share the books I have been reading during the pand...